When I first started my dog Charlie’s Instagram account, my intention was never to get a lot of followers or “make her famous.” It started out as a separate account I created where friends and family could follow her adventures, without constantly flooding my own social media feed with cute puppy photos. (Guilty!) Cut to a few years later, plus adopting another dog, and here we are with close to 200,000 followers combined on our social media platforms. (Psst, you can follow them too: @puppynamedcharlie) As a Social Media director, and self-acclaimed dog momager, here are a few words of wisdom I have for someone looking to grow their account organically.
Find your (dog’s) voice
I recently recorded a short class for my latest project, The Pet Summit, on finding your voice when it comes to any social media account that you are running. With Charlie’s account, it came easily. She was my dog, and I developed a personality for her that I expressed through her social media captions and comments. Even though my other dog, Sawyer, shares the account with Charlie, the voice and ideas are always from Charlie’s point of view. Her voice is sarcastic, witty, and funny. Even when we do paid sponsorships or collaborations, I do not change who she is, what she stands for, and what her voice would sound like. It’s important to find that voice, whatever it may be, and stay true to it as your account continues to grow.
You can’t possibly expect to grow an account organically without being engaging. Chat with your followers, reply to their comments, read their messages. It’s important to let your audience know that there is a real person behind the account, someone personable who actually cares. One of my biggest pet peeves is an account that ignores DMs and comments, and never actually engages with you.
Don’t rely on “going viral.”
Sure, going viral is a great thing, and it pretty much sets the tone for where more people aim to be when they post something. But if you’re only going to focus on going viral and being re-posted by a bigger account, you’re going to lose out on all of the other things that go into building an account, watching it grow, and creating great content. When you post, make sure you are also posting for your main audience, your “OG” followers, and people who know you.
Don’t just post to post.
I see a lot of accounts who (for some reason) feel like they need to share everything. Yes, accounts who post multiple versions of the same photo several times a day, I’m looking at you. Think about what you are posting: are you proud of it? Is the image high quality and clear? Is the video edited properly? Make sure your audience knows that you are putting some effort into your posts and stories. They are following you for a reason after all.
Don’t be afraid to participate in trends and challenges
Lately I have been finding this is important for growth, but also important for staying relevant on any social media. I’m not saying you have to go and learn a Tik Tok dance (trust me, I can’t dance whatsoever!) But, pay attention to trending songs, trending hashtags, and things happening in pop culture, that could blend into your account naturally or add to the fun of it all! Take a look at what other accounts in your field are doing as well.
What tips or strategies do you use to increase your own engagement on social media?